A key point made in my Fixing Fractures book is that when you understand the full context, everything makes perfect sense. That really holds true for the frame that our home of origin puts around conflict and difference.
My wife came from a home with an overbearing, frequently angry, towering brusque father and a meeker, compromising mother. I’m not saying these were bad people! They were both fine upstanding citizens.
But we tend to have our conflict patterns seared into us by what happened in our house. We register these times of high drama. Ordinary, run-of-the-mill times don’t make the news, either on TV or in life. What my wife got good at standing up to that big brute of a man, and holding her ground. As a result she’s really good at putting her position forward, getting her way. High emotional temperature in the house doesn’t bother her. She thrives on it.
I on the other hand, am a conflict wuss. Why do you think I wanted to learn this approach so badly? It’s the magic key that unlocked for me how to handle bad situations. We didn’t have those in my house. Everyone was very nice, accommodating. Of course we had differences, but they occurred on the slow boil, and never actually got aired. Not in my sight at least. So my house was harmony and peace, with a minor in subterranean unresolved matters. Like why my father was at the office 25/8. And I fought with my sisters, belittling them in ways I profoundly regret now, but that seemed to be a sideshow. My parents may have had issues. But they never came up!
So when my wife and I have a dust-up, we’re coming from very different stories, different starting points. Thanks to my good wife, I’ve had to learn how to fight. It’s been good for me. I went to law school to learn how to prevail in conflict. It takes a lot to get me going, but when I argue with her, I always sound so superior, so logical, so rational. Of course that just infuriates my counterpart! Her later life was all about university mores, having been in institutions of higher learning. She can go academic on me, but she’s still a better battler.
Our houses change as we grow up and have to cope in different environments.
The context, when understood, makes perfect sense of everything.
What was your house like? Was it chaotic? Smoothed over? A battleground? That will have a big influence on how you come at your resolution talk, and will also shape how it unfolds.
There’s more about your house, my house in Fixing Fractures and in a video coming soon.